CM pushes for Agar plantation in hill areas

IMPHAL, 11th June: Expressing concern over the impact of climate change and the deteriorating condition of environment in the state, chief minister N Biren Monday called upon the hill dwellers to opt for Agar plantation as an alternative source of income and shun deforestation activities for a healthier environment.
The CM was speaking as chief guest of the inaugural function of a two-day State Level Workshop on Understanding Mountain People’s Approaches and Practices for Climate Change Adaptation held at Hotel Classic Grande, Chingmeirong in Imphal East district on Monday.
Noting that there is a pressing need to grow more and more trees to check climate change and maintain ecological balance, he said that the state government will plant 10 lakh Agar saplings soon.
Expressing hope that it would serve as a source of earning for the people apart from checking decreasing green cover in the state to a large extent, Biren said that forest minister Shyamkumar went to Moreh on a three-day tour to identify suitable areas and mobilise villagers in this regard.
With assistance from Assam Rifles, villagers of hill districts are also being encouraged to plant lemongrass and avocado instead of poppy, he added.
Biren observed that it is high time to pay serious attention to afforestation and environment protection as forest areas are depleting so fast in the state due to rampant deforestation.
Shirui hills, which earlier had large tract of thick forests and innumerable springs, regrettably have no adequate water source today for taking up a water supply scheme for the people of the district, he said. People get to see such undesirable instances due to unchecked felling of trees, he said while adding that the situation is somewhat similar in Tamenglong district where finding water source is becoming a major problem.
Recalling the series of floods experienced in the valley area in the last monsoon season, the CM said that valley areas have also begun to experience nature’s wrath due to deteriorating environment.
He also maintained that people must give up activities like Jhum cultivation as it gives irreparable impact on environment even if these activities have connections with customary practices and traditions.
Observing that there is need to change the mindset of the people, Biren stressed the need for an effective land policy for hill districts in order to protect the fast diminishing forest areas.
He further expressed hope that the outcome of the workshop will enlighten the government and the people in many ways. He also mentioned about the necessity of organising similar workshops at district level as well to create awareness at grassroots level.
Stating that about 40 per cent of the global population depends indirectly on mountain resources for water supply, agriculture, hydroelectricity and biodiversity, Biren said that mountains are home to many traditional management practices and forms of subsistence agriculture.
He also announced Rs 45 crore for taking up a water supply plant for the people of Tamenglong district.
Environment director Dr Y Nabachandra, Integrated Mountain Initiative president Sushil Ramola and Sustainable Development Forum, Nagaland executive director Amba Jamir also attended the function.
The workshop is being organised by Manipur Forum for Sustainable Mountain Development (MFSMD) in association with State Chapter of Integrated Mountain Initiatives and State Climate Change Cell, Directorate of Environment.

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